Saving on Groceries – Thinking by the Pound

Jeff Yeager in his book “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches” talks about looking at your food purchases in terms of price for weight. His plan was to avoid paying more than a dollar a pound for any food. For me in central Florida in 2013, this idea seems like it may have worked a long time ago or perhaps in a galaxy far, far away. But it is still a way to look at it. Looking at it that way was what led me to find uses for the second half of the alfalfa sprouts that used to go to waste. By the container they’re fairly moderately priced. By the pound they seem a lot more expensive.

Even in my here and now, there are some foods that cost less than a dollar a pound. Brown rice is 78 cents a pound and lentils are 97 cents a pound at Walmart. So far, bananas are always under a $1 a pound, and whole fresh carrots and yellow onions are too. Of the frozen vegetables at Walmart, only green beans and sliced yellow squash are $1/lb, and then only in the 2 lb. size. When I catch chicken thighs on a buy one get one sale, they are 99 cents a pound. So I could make chicken and rice with vegetables within the under a dollar system.

Something I’ve read about and ignored for decades is to weigh produce that is sold by the package, not by weight, and buy the heaviest one for the fixed price. If one of the bags weighs 2 ¼ pounds and another just 2 pounds, that extra fourth of a pound is in effect free. Recently I tried this with those bundles of three broccoli trees that are priced by the bundle, not by the pound. I picked out three that looked like they had different amounts of florets and weighed all three. They weighed 1 ⅛, 1 ¼ and 1 ½ pounds respectively, so by buying the larger one I got 3/8 of a pound more for the money than if I had bought the smaller one. With broccoli I think I could guess this by looking; bags of potatoes or onions I would probably have to weigh.

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One comment

  1. this is brilliant! i never thought about weighing prepackaged produce! I’ve always just grabbed one and moved on with my life 🙂 I wonder if Sams club has scales (I’ve never checked) but that’s my favorite spot to get a good deal on fruits/produce Thanks for the tip!

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